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The Extra Point

Too many rules, too much $$$

Chris Siers
Posted 5/5/21

Watching sports has been one of my favorite hobbies I've ever done. I love it so much, I decided to pursue a career in sports (go figure). I was born into Cincinnati Reds fandom and a solid 60 % of my attire is Reds-related gear. For years, I've made trips to Cincinnati and been able to watch nightly games...

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The Extra Point

Too many rules, too much $$$

Posted

Watching sports has been one of my favorite hobbies I've ever done. I love it so much, I decided to pursue a career in sports (go figure).

I was born into Cincinnati Reds fandom and a solid 60 % of my attire is Reds-related gear.

For years, I've made trips to Cincinnati and been able to watch nightly games.

A few years ago, I got my first interaction with hockey and after being able to watch games regularly and enjoy the Predators' success over the last several seasons, I've been hooked.

Just like the Reds, I was hooked and was able to watch my games every night.

None of that is made possible anymore thanks to blackout rules and ridiculous costs.

Blackout restrictions are the most un-fan-friendly entity in sports.

Because Middle Tennessee is technically in market, the MLB's Extra Innings package is not available for purchase, as games are blacked out.

Even more frustrating, the Reds share a market with the Atlanta Braves, so anytime there is a conflict, the Braves get priority broadcasting.

Now consider the Nashville Predators.

The Preds also fall victim to the blackout restrictions, well at least the Bally Sports (formerly Fox Sports) broadcasting is concerned.

The Predators are still able to be broadcast on the NBC Sports programming, but Bally Sports is highly restrictive.

Currently, the only way to get Bally Sports is to pay astronomical charges for satellite or cable programming.

As many TV viewers have become "cord cutters" and moved away from traditional broadcasting in favor of online streaming services.

When these streaming services first became popular, the regional broadcasting channels (Fox Sports/Bally Sports) were available on most platforms.

Since then, greed has taken over and sports fans have seemingly become lost in the mix as if they don't matter.

One would think with COVID-19 related restrictions concerning fan attendance, various sports leagues would want to open their respective sports to as many viewers as possible.

Instead, many fans are stuck in the void, lost in the pursuit of more money.

It's past time blackout restrictions are done away with.

If club ownership and leagues actually care about fan's viewership, a stand must be taken against the greed of the broadcasting corporations.

This is a plea of sports fans everywhere. For once, don't make it about money.

We're in the midst of a global pandemic.

Viewership needs to be opened to as many people as possible.

I'm not saying make it free, but don't extort the very fanbases that keep your franchises and leagues in existence.

Think about the fans who may never be able to attend a game in person again.

Think about those who can't even follow their favorite teams because some executive decided to black out a specific region of viewership.

Something has to be done.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.

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